The Jazz Haus label continues its drop-dead killer Legends Live series with this highly sophisticated and brightly polished gig from 1964, a concert that has languished since the day it was recorded despite the fact that the Quintet's tour that year created quite a buzz. The Germans have always held an intense interest in expanding artistic borders, well shown in legendary experiments in elektronische and avant-garde (Stockhausen, Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, etc.) and krautrock (Guru Guru, Amon Duul II, and so on), but the jazz cats were just as brazen and forward thinking. 'Fusion' was a byword in Deutschland back in the 60s, and any progrocker well knows what that means. Here we get a steady heady cavalcade of top-notch blowing in a well concretized base format, not free jazz, not quite avant, but most assuredly beyond-the-pale post-bop eclectic.
For 75+ minutes (basically, a twofer on a single disc), we're treated to long thoughtful pointed ruminations and improv on thematics from three horns-players: Mangelsdorff on trombone (an instrument MUCH more highly respected in Germany than anywhere else in the world), Heinz Sauer on alto and soprano sax,and Gunter Kronberg on alto, Gunter Lenz (bass) and Ralf Hubner (drums) carrying an unshakeable rhythm section. If you recall those days, you're going to be hearing a lot of Ian Carr and Nucleus in here, not to mention Elton Dean, Coltrane, the forward edge of the Blue Note/CTI movement, and myriad projectively futurist musicians who took their roots in post-Armstrong hard bop.
Like much of the movement, a great deal of inspiration was found in Middle and Far East musics, and that's well reflected here as well, in cuts like Theme from Pather Panchali by Ravi Shankar and Sakura Waltz with its Japanese strains, as well as Now Jazz Ramwong, a Thai-influenced number. This isn't purely a horns blowout session either, though those axes get the lion's share of time. The entirety of Raknahs is infact given over to Lenz and Hubner, a nice muscle flexing arena to romp around in, all their own, start to finish. But the brass section does indeed get the spotlight, and, if you're of a mind to travel back to post-beatnik pre-hippie days, this is the E-Ticket you've been looking for and then some.[The companion release this month in the series is a blend of two of Dizzy Gillespie's gigs from November 1961 (here).]
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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